42nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) - Goa - 2011

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Inauguration of 42nd IFFI 2011 by Shahrukh Khan

(23rd Nov. - 3rd Dec. 2011)



FOR SOME UNEXPLAINNED REASON, this year there was no pre-festival briefing to the media either by way of communication or curtain –raiser meets. The first ever joint briefing by the Festival Director and Organizer ESG CEO was held as a curtain raiser only a day before the commencement of event. A rosy picture and much improved changes and experience was promised, but the net result was a combination of truth and fiction (true and false / plus and minus).


  • Better quality and fresh films than the last year, were juxtaposed in convenient sections and slots. Total no. films were about 169 selected from 60 countries. Addition of Internationally acclaimed films in “Kaleidoscope”, 3 D and Animation film sections. European discoveries, Master Classes and Russian Classics were welcome additions. Besides the usual grind of Indian Panorama, Short and Documentary Films, Retrospective and Homages films, Country Focus etc. was all there.
  • The total prize money to award winners was Rs. 20000 more than earlier years, including revival of Life Time Achievement Award, making a gross of Rs. 90 lakhs as cash awards. The total budget of the fest was of 10 crores, fortyseven percent of which was borne by sponsors in pubic sectors and Government of Goa.
  • In the light of the latest ‘Festival Steering Committee’ recommendations, Diectorate of Film Festivals (DFF) will become a part of Independent (Not a part of I & B Ministry) as ‘IFFI Directorate’ with more active and accountable role to be played by the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG). However, these recommendations are yet to be accepted and whether for good or worse, only time will tell.
  • The criteria to select best film in ‘Competition films’ was made truly INTERNATIONAL, widening the scope from first film of a director.
  • The panel of Juries for both International Competition (Feature) and Short, Docu.films were of the high order. The first chaired by renowned aesthetic film maker Adoor Gopal Krishnan and the later by Basu Bhattacharya, both veteran Indian Film makers.
  • Most appropriate was the choice for the Life Time Achievement award, the Internationally acclaimed film maker and doyen of FRENCH cinema Mr. BERTRAND TAVERNIER, so far having scripted and made 31 films, a few of which were also show cased in the Fest.
  • For the first time the fest had launched its own poster, which was an excellent depiction of of fest motif ‘Peacock’, creatively made as a ‘dancing peacock’ by South India’s renowned Film Design and Art Consultant Thotta Tharani. IFFI signature film was conceptualized by the well known film maker Shaji Karun.
  • This year the eating facilities and amenities for the media and delegates was better and at reasonable prices with free drinking water fountains at a few places in main Inox premises. However, the Water coolers operated without the water purifiers, were not healthy for all. The shuttle transport between Kala academy—Inox was improvised from autos to cars, and ample AC buses to ply to distant functions. (But unfortunately both suffered from lack of co-ordination and management, which will be dealt in minus points of fest.)
  • Selection of both opening and closing films in "The Consul of Bordeaux” (Portugal) and “The Lady” (France & UK) respectively was excellent.
  • As a sweet change, timely distribution of Festival kit and catalogue was made this time

AND FOR ALL THESE POSITIVE IMPROVEMENTS the credit must go to the directorate headed by Shankar Mohan, Principal Organizer ESG headed by Manoj Shrivastava, Chairman of Steering Committee Mike Pandey and the Juries.


The Opening function was most mis-managed. Firstly, it was held at Madgaon, 25 kms away from the main venue at Panjim. That took almost 100 minutes to &fro in commuting. No doubt the newly constructed Auditorium “Ravindra Bhavan’ has a few more seats to accommodate than the usual Kala Academy, the seats, acoustics etc. was not comfortable (No pushback, hard cushion). It was, perhaps more of an attempt to please the locals of Madgaon, which also happens to be the electorate of Goa CM. But this advantage was also marred by the black flag demonstration alongside the road of main city and complete sealing of the road where the auditorium is located. The public demonstration on the streets of Goa is a continuing political agitation against the reported ‘Mining Scams”.


The Chief Guest for the opening ceremony was the tinsel super star Shahrukh Khan (2nd time during 3 years). All dignatories, including the Minister of I & B Ambca Soni, I &B Secretary, Goa CM Digambar Kamat and others came 10 minutes earlier than the slated time of 5 p.m at the auditorium in the hope that the C G will be in time for a change. But lo and behold, he came cool 35 minutes late at 5.35 p.m. Culprit was, Hosts (actors Rahul Khanna and Tisca Chopra) murmured, his flight was late. What flight? How come that he presented himself fully made up, dressed and prepared with an attached hairy ‘tail’ on his head (a Wig)a-la his latest film “Don2”and came directly from Air-port? Afterall, when the ‘Showmanship” comes, stars are always one-up than the Ministers. Function thus started only at 5.40 p.m. ESG, IFFFI and PIB had planned for the first return bus for media at 6-15.m. And for a change, Shahrukh delivered a written address, not in consonance with his extempore speech (albeit memorized like film dialogues).By that time, yes, only King Khan could finish his address. And then perhaps the sequence of formalities changed i.e. instead of the Jury intro---, Conferment of Life Time Achievement award etc.; they only started cultural dance -- music, "Vande Mataram to folk dances”, to enable media / press to leave for media centre at Panjim to catch deadline for reporting. All other formalities followed later on. The supporting glamour to lit the inaugural lamp with Shahrukh was the Bengal star Rituparna Sengupta.

The seating arrangement was most haphazard. Not only the media was allotted back and side sets, even the known bollywood leaders like Santok Singh Jain and others like film makers Sudhir Mishra and other baollywood persons were made to sit at the back.

“WE WILL MAKE IFFI TRULY INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE’S FESTIVAL” a line from AMBIKA SONI, I & B Minister’s address. My analysis / comment follows in detail after a few more observations.

When Life Time Achievement award was conferred upon French film maker Bertrand Tavernier, the event showcased an extempore painting by a local Vilas Nayak on Bertrand Tavernier followed by a screening of a two minute clip on the acclaimed filmmaker. A certificate, cheque of Rs. 10 Lakhs cash award, scroll and shawl was presented to him by Shahrukh Khan and Minister Ambica Soni. That followed presentation of the International Jury panel -Adoor Gopalakrishnan (Chairman) and members Dan Wolman from Israel, Lawrence Kardish from USA, Lee Yong Kwan from the Busan Film Festival and Tahmineh Milani from Iran, felicitated by Rituparna Sengupta.

  • Opening function set the trend of ‘delays’ for almost all press conferences and other events during the festival, causing hardship and sacrificing the film screening if press covered the events. And even if the media person wanted to attend the film late, he / she was denied the seat or even entry in spite of having a numbered seat ticket. Although, the ESG CEO and the Fest Director had assured that the media will not lose their seats because of a silly rule made for the first time that the “DELEGATES” who are not reporting for a film 5 minutes before the show time, will lose the seat and others ‘without tickets’ will be allowed to enter and occupy seats. However, the IFFI, ESG did not keep up this promise too and allotted specific media row seats were occupied by the walk-in delegate badge holders.
  • When probed, the INOX management (G M Mr. Joseph) informed that they have not been instructed to keep the media seats ‘Reserved’ for media persons only. Since this year, the delegate registration (besides local daily tickets) was all time high (more than 8000) to avoid discontent in them, they have been asked to allow all card holders inside any time, provided a seat is vacant. Not only that, but there was a seemingly ‘Nepotism’ in practice to allow the ‘selected persons’ by the ‘Ushers’ sporting “IFFI” logo. For the show of the film“Entanglement” when this writer wanted to enter the auditorium after a delayed press meet, he was not allowed to even enter the hall. When strongly protested and explained why so late and the IFFI / ESG directors have permitted the media to enter late, one usher (Named D Shet)came out and allowed me saying that ‘Come, I have found one seat vacant for you’. When I entered inside, I saw many more seats vacant and a few more persons were admitted inside. When I confronted the INOX management as to why such a blatant ‘discrimination’, I was told ‘Sir, the ‘Ushers’ are not INOX persons. They are all appointees of “IFFI / ESG” from locals and we have no say or control over them”. So sad and pitiable. This was not only a mismanagement and lack of implementation but perhaps also a ‘Strategy’ to please the ‘Local public’.. This is supported by “Lokmat -Iffi daily” dt. 3 Dec.in a boxed item reported by Vasudev Pagi. "One collegian delegate from Bangalore told "This year I never visited the ticket counter as I was allowed to enter 5 minutes before for any show without ticket and I enjoyed seeing more than my official quota of 4 films a day. Pl. do not give my photo or name otherwise IFFI / ESG” may balck list me from next year.”
  • But such discrimination not not confine to entry in Auditorium only. In two official parties viz; one on the opening day (host I & B Minister), the other on closing day, (Host CM Goa) the selected “Imported Wine” was being served only to a ‘Few Guests’ for whom there was a separate enclosure / tables. In the opening bash, at least Indian wine was served to others, but in the closing, the Indian or Goan wine was also denied, though the ‘Area for VIP enclosure’ was noticed with special Wine glasses with servers.
  • There was lack of communication and co-ordination in Bus or shuttle services between the ESG- Media Centre or the drivers about specific timing and availability. Often we had to walk from Kala Academy to Inox after the end of show. Forr coming back to INOX, not a single shuttle was available. Reason, the drivers told that they are not informed about the show end timings to enable them to remain stationed at Kala academy as their normal parking is at INOX. Similarly, on the last day closing bash from Taj village (far away from INOX), the first media bus was to leave from the main entrance gate at 10-30 p.m. but the bus was nowhere in sight. Media people were found running helter / skelter, walking long distances or taking passing car lift. At last one Bus, which was meant for delegates, could accommodate them and left at about 11-15 p.m.


As if the first day’s super star chaotic presence was not enough, second day for ‘Short Films and Panorama’ inauguration, yesteryear actor idol Madhuri Dixit came late and delayed all functions by one and half hour amidst big glamour stuck people, and longish speeches. Serious film watchers who were present for the inaugural Panorama film ‘Urmi’ even often clapped in the hall, due to delay and overcrowding. Madhuri, on the other hand, in trying to look young and glamorous attended as the Chief guest in a Skirt displaying her ‘youngish –slim body’. She never attended any function during her ‘top days’ in such skirt to ooz glamour. It was in -built in her talent and persona. The organizers felicitated Mahduri at the CM Kamat’s home constituency in Madgaon, instead of felicitating her at the main venue Panjim along with media / delegates, ostensibly to please local crowd. “Nav Hind Times’, a leading English daily of Goa, reported that their Accreditated reporter was humiliated by denying him an opportunity to ‘interview’ actress Michelle Yeoh who essayed the role of Aung San Suu Kyi. Of Burma (Now Myanmar)in the closing film “The Lady” in spite of an prior appointment.

Why Glamour should dominate in such serious Film Festival?

Well, let us analyze this vital question. First the media view. Almost all senior and serious journalists / Film critics hold the similar view as was expressed by the veteran print scribe Rekha Deshpande in “Iffi Daily- of LOKMAT dt. 28 Nov. "Because the IFFI is running after the ‘Star Glamour’, we are losing the ‘Gambhirya’ (seriousness) of the fest. Because of this, the real film viewers of IFFI are getting disenchanted.”

And if all this Tamasha is staged just to please the local Goans who have raised their voice against “IFFI Extravaganza” in Goa, then that also fail as evident from the opinion expressed by eminent Goans published in the ‘Lokmat IFFI Daily’. Ms. Maya Mrinalini, a senior Goan said. “No doubt, a huge sum is spent to keep the City neat and clean with good infrastructure, it is only confined to the IFFI event area in Panaji. There are many other fundamental issues in Goa which can be solved with the money spent on “IFFI” year after year.”.Another eminent person Dr. Pralhad Shirwaikar opined that “Govt. is boasting wrongly that because of ‘IFFI’ Goa has become popular Internationally. No, for ages, Goa has been the favorite Tourist spot universally. No doubt the city infrastructure is improving every year, but it only gets utilized in Panaji and that too for 10-12 days. Big parts of Goa’ territory remain starved for such development”. Another Panaji resident Ms. Nisha Kolhatkar gave mixed reaction "No doubt that “IFFI’ gives an opportunity for local Goans to enjoy a lot of good International films. But it also causes a heavy traffic jam, and inconvenience to local Panjimkars due to unlimited food stalls and carnival staged all thru’out Bandokar Marg. Perhaps to get something, we have to lose something.”

Even the Nation’s front runner serious film maker and this year’s Chair man of Jury Panel of International Competition section, Adoor Gopal Krishnan opined in the “Lokmat- IFFI Daily’ dt. Nov. 30, 2011 "IFFI is a splendid Opportunity to show case Indian cinema and its culture, to develop Goan’s own film makers, audience and film critics. But he is indeed baffled by the ‘STARGRAZING at the festival by Goan cine buffs as well as the media wasting their time running after their favorite stars”.

Why this phenomenon then?Only to attract the local Goan public and star crazy delegates / media? Possibly true. ESG and DFF both want it to be not only star oriented to attract many more eye balls but the media too have raised this question as to why bollywood and stars are not participating in IFFI in hordes? The well known film maker Vidhu Vinod Chopra reacted to this as ‘ Make this fest as of standard of other International Fests’. Asked ‘ You mean like Cannes, which the DFF or the Minister of I & F of Govt. of India always put an emulating example or the Filmfare awards where the star presence is maximum? Prompt came the reply ‘No, Cannes Fest has become a racket, so is Film fare awards. Each star is paid ”. Vinod, in that case, which is the Fest or awards which is not involved in a racket? So should the IFFI fall in the same spirit?

For that matter, this writer is of the opinion that even the highest honored film awards of the world (Academy Awards) OSCARS can also be accused of ‘Favortism and nepotism. "Winner of several Oscars “Slumdog Millionaire’ is a case in point. Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s, Including the all time favorite ‘3 Idiots’ or earlier “Munnabhai series, was not even selected or shortlisted for honor? However, his inspired film on the work of Sarat Babu’s novel “Parineeta” at least was honoured by giving a place to that film script in the Academy Awards Library. He was satisfied with it?


Many stars and bollywood celebrities were present for FILM BAZAR attending seminars etc. (May be a selfish purpose for marketing) ,but they were not seen in the festival film screening venues. Actors Abhay Deol, Shekhar Kapoor, Farah Khan, Ketan Mehta, Anurag Kashyap, Kalki Koechlin etc. And the fact remains that the 3 day show of ‘Film Bazaar’ was full of glitz and glamour, proved to record no result for any film Business, in spite of business collaboration seminars and meets.

However two business film screenings I liked. They were:

An issue based film in Hindi "In the Name of TAI” made by actor, writer and film maker Ujjwal Thengadi, who made several regional award winning films earlier. This is his maiden Hindi film inspired by a true story of an activist who was killed by a politician cum Mafia Builder. Filmmaker Ujjwal himself portrayed the role of the villain-politician, brilliantly supported by the acclaimed film and TV actress Nishigandha Wadkar in the title role of TAI. Music is also a highlight of the film, composed by Ujjwal himself.

Another good attempt at the “Horror” was Hindi film “2 Nights in Soul Valley” a P R O turned film maker Hairsh Sharma who has written and directed this debut film. In Uttarakhand, Kumayun region is also known as ‘soul valley for its trekking and scenic beauty. A group of boys and girls from Delhi visit the Hilly areas near Pithoragarh with deep / dangerous valleys bordering Nepal and Tibet (China). While taking the viewers thru’ the picturesque journey, how mysterical happenings creating horror planned by their own Guide, who wanted to take revenge of the “Insult” of his brother from one group member named Harry, who had ill treated his brother servant. In the end, the mysteries get solved. Harish has tried to make a gripping film with almost all TV starlets as his stars. But a brilliant cinematographer Prakash Chand with his eye filling camera work was the highlight.

Notice Board at Kala Academy displayed that no bags, eatables, mobiles, water bottles etc. will be allowed inside auditorium. In practice, all items were allowed, except the harmless “Water bottle”. Senior citizens, who need to drink their own plain water periodically were much inconvenienced. When this write protested, on medical ground, ESG issued a special permission letter to carry water bottle.But when questioned, no one could tell what is the ‘Security Risk’ of a small water bottle, if carried inside. Is that not plain ‘Inhuman and decadent’ dictate? It was fun to see viewers keeping their water bottle outside entrance, coming out in between to have a sip and collect it at the end. Shameful, is not it?

Now about good films

In Short film Category, award winning films were :

A short film made by K R Manoj won the top prize Vasudha award for “A Pestering Journey”. Second prize of Golden Lamp Tree was conferred on the film “Another Planet” directed by Smita Bhide from Goa; while the Silver Lamp Tree award was conferred on “Crazy Beats Strong Every Time’ directed by Mool Monson. A jury prize was conferred on a film “Khule Darwaze” made by Ashish Pande. This was in International category.

Besides this, there was special Jury prize conferred on the best documentary / short film made for Goan talents. That is an informative docu- film made on the life and works of Goanese living Music legend Anthony Gonsolves directed by Ashok Rane.

Eminent jury for these honours was headed by the eminent Parallel film maker veteran Basu Chatterji.

Award winning feature films and honours in “International Competition category

Best film "Porfirio” (Columbia) won the Golden Peacock with Rs. 40 lakhs cash for its Director Alenjandro Landes and the producer Francisco Aljure.

Best director award was conferred on the Iranian film maker Asghar Farhadi for his down to earth emotional family film "Nader and Simin-A Separation”, with a silver peacock and cash Rs. 15 lakh.

Best actor award was won by Sasson Gabay for his role in the film “Restoration” from Israel, a silver peacock and Rs.10 L cash.

Best Actress : Ms. Nadejhda Markina for essyng her title role in the Russian film “Elena”, silver peacock and Rs. 10 L.

The Special Jury award was bestowed upon the Indian Panorama National award winning film “Adminte Makan Abu” a Malayalam film made by Salim Ahamed. (This film is also India’s entry for “Oscar 2012”) A silver Peacock and Rs. 15 lakhs cash accompanied it.

As said earlier, the Jury for this competition consisted of eminent Internaional and Indian film makers chaired by India’s Adoor Gopal Krishanan.

Other Laudable films of the Fest :

The opening film "The Consul of Bordeaux” from Portugal.

Directors : Francisco Manso and Joao Correa. Electrifying portrayal by actor Vitor Norte in the leading role.

The Closing film "The Lady” (2011)from France / UK made by the acclaimed film maker Luc Besson, whose retrospective films were also the part of the festival. The film is based / inspired on the life and works of Myanmar’s (Burma) iron lady still fighting for democracy in that country. The lead role as the living political legend Aung San Suu Kyii is emotionally portrayed with natural ease by actress Michelle Yeoh (wonderful resemblance with the real lady Suu). As a surprise gift befitting the farewell to the fest was the presence of both the film makers Luc Besson and the lead actress Michelle Yeoh.

“Shelter” (Bulgaria) a film directed by Dragomir Sholev.

“Bullhead” (Belgium) directed by Michael Roskam

"Flowers of Evil” (France) directed by David Dusa

"House of Tolerance” (France) directed by Bertrand Benello

“Circumstance” (France / USA / Iran) directed by Maryam Keshavraz

“The Quiet American” (Germany / USA) directed by Phillip Noyce

“The Precinct” (Azerbaijan) directed by Ilgar Safat

"Palawan Phate” (Philippines) directed by Auracus Solito

"Breathing” (Austria) Directed by Karl Marcovics

“Polisse” (France) Directed by Marwenn

“The House” (Slovac Republic) Directed by Zuzana Liova.

"Top Floor Left Wing” (France / Luxembourge) Director: Angelo Cianci.

“Joanna” (Poland) director Felix Falk

“Elena” (Russia) director : Andrei Zvyagintsev

“Entanglement” (Poland) directed by Jacek Bromski

“The Swindle” (France / Switzerland)directed by Claude Chabrol

“The First Grader” (UK / South Africa) director: Justin Chadwick.

~ Covered and reported by Mohan Siroya



Mohan ji thanks for sharing the report. i feel like i was there after reading this. hope all is well. I am in New York at present happy new year as well. Tirlok Malik Apple Productions, Inc.
Dear Mohan, Thank you so much for your report on IFFI-2011. The report is very well prepared and very insightful. Ravi Kambhoj, Australia
"Thanks Mohan for such a detailed analysis.Keep up your interest in films." Denis Khan
Thank you so much for your report on IFFI-2011. The report is very well prepared and very insightful. Ravi Kambhoj, Australia
Mohan ji Thanks for sharing the report. I feel like I was there after reading this. Hope all is well. I am in New York at present, happy new year as well. Tirlok Malik Apple Productions, Inc.
Thanks for a comprehensive view as seen by a responsible and concerned fellow of a tribe that aims to provide constructive and positive criticism for the betterment of future events . it is indeed unfortunate to see scribes both, photographer/ videographers as well as journos run and cause stampede when a star appears on the site of the event . can"t it be done in a more organised manner in a media briefing room where the star may meet and interact with the media and then be left alone to enjoy the festival events without being pressed for stills and interviews ? this way it will quench all thirst for the " star value " that all seek in such festivals . there were lots of positives and it is indeed a growing process to reach a near perfect spolutions and constructive criticisms like yours will hopefully be taken in the right spirit and acted upon . cheers DEEPAK SHARMA

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